This week offers one of Africa’s biggest votes this year, as Kenyans go to the polls on Tuesday to decide a new president.
The contest is between incumbent Deputy President William Ruto, 55, and Raila Odinga, a 77-year-old veteran of such campaigns who is now on his fifth attempt at the top spot. Relations with China, which has invested heavily in the country in recent decades, raising concerns among Kenyans, has become a key battleground for the campaign.
The usual rule of incumbent advantage has been reversed after Ruto clashed with incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, who in turn has thrown his weight behind Odinga. As a result, the competition is now wide open, according to FT Africa editor David Pilling. More FT commentary on the Kenya poll, which will also include elections for parliament and 47 local assemblies, will be published as the results come in.
Attention will also turn this week (once again) to a significant earlier poll: the 2020 US presidential election. Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York turned personal attorney to former President Donald Trump, has received a New York judge’s order to testify Tuesday before a grand jury investigating attempts by Trump supporters to overturn the results of Georgia’s 2020 election.
It’s a sign of the threat the Georgia grand jury probe poses to Trump and those around him, more than some believe the Jan. 6 congressional committee investigation into the 2021 Capitol attack.
In other news, the summer of UK discontent over post-lock pay awards is on the move this week with up to 120 Red Funnel staff on the Isle of Wight ferry kicking things off with a walkout on Tuesday . More than 1,000 employees at Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, one of Northern Ireland’s largest local authorities, will go on strike on Wednesday which will affect refuse collection, planning and leisure services.
It will be the turn of Glasgow Metro workers on Friday, a particular inconvenience for Rangers fans on a matchday, followed by (another) nationwide train strike by Aslef drivers at nine rail companies on Saturday.
On the bright side, and God knows we need it, Tuesday marks the start of British school exam results season with Scottish students waiting for news that they have the necessary grades at Highers and Advanced Highers to secure college and university places.
This has been the first year of students taking exams since the pandemic, so expect this to be discussed as a factor in the grades students will receive. It will also be an opportunity for a school report on the performance of the Scottish National Party in running education north of the border.
The main economic news this week will be inflation data from the US and China, plus the UK’s first stab at its Q2 gross domestic product figure.
We could also get some indication of the future movement of fuel prices from the monthly oil market reports from the Energy Information Administration and OPEC. The growing likelihood of a recession and, by extension, concerns about oil demand will have an impact on these upgrades even as supply remains very tight.
Like the holiday tan, the rush of company earnings announcements fades for another season. The dominant issue will be insurance companies, which will provide further evidence of the damage inflation is causing to the sector, particularly auto insurers, as the price of parts and other claims costs rise sharply.
After Direct Line and Saber’s July profit warnings, all eyes will be on Admiral’s half-year results on Wednesday to see if its profitability and guidance can withstand the inflationary threat.
The other prominent players are Aviva and Zurich. “These will provide further evidence of how the largest and most diversified groups are behaving in a period of rising interest rates and a worsening economic outlook,” says my colleague, the insurance correspondent for FT Ian Smith.
Read the full week’s schedule here